2011 Open Source CMS Market Share Report

Have folks had time to review the information from Water and Stone this year? The numbers are always a bit difficult to interpret, of course, but there are many different metrics and this is the fourth year of implementation so disregarding the report, entirely, is unwise.

Some general comments:

- Say what you will about WordPress being "just a blog" and so forth and so on but it is kicking everyone's ass in huge ways. There is WordPress, and then, there are the rest of it. 11 tables, 14mb, free (beer and GPL) plugins installable from within the admin console, a steady release cycle, and a kabillion implementations. We'd all be wise to consider usability and simplicity above anything else. OS/2 didn't make it, Windows did. Think about it.

- Concrete 5 should forget about building an open source CMS and transform the project into an open source marketing enterprise. Kudo's to the project for rallying support with their user communities and getting people to the voting booth. In general, I think Concrete 5 has combined the best of WordPress simplicity with (the mistakes, IMO) proprietary licensing for extensions and this has driven early adoption by users and developers. They will have to pay the piper to straighten out the licensing issues but it can be a good way to jump start a community and the numbers are showing that to be true in the survey.

- In general, overall use of open source CMS's appears to be heading down. I think +Stephen Burge has nailed why -- and it's the easy to use, economical SAAS options available today for business and community websites. Many times, businesses just want a place to hang their shingle without having to pay through the nose or hire technical staff. It's a little concerning to not see a corresponding drop in developer support. If there isn't a good cushion of pent-up demand, it means competition for the job is likely on the rise.

- Books released probably one of the best metrics available to measure interest and potential for growth. Where many numbers are difficult to interpret (ex. are more search results indicative of higher interest? or poor "on property" support and documentation? tough to say.) Books released is a number that comes from corporate decision-making on what might or might not sell. Both Drupal and Joomla had major releases last year and yet Drupal had nearly twice the book releases in 2011. Before jumping to the conclusion that such is a measure only of difficulty, WordPress beat out Drupal by one title. Glad to see Tiki with 6 titles. That is smart software. Take a look at it sometime.

- The power of brand name recognition is undeniable. Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla have a strangle hold on the top three spots and have for several years. It does not mean those are the best options out there, either. Each project was well positioned for growth in 2004-2005 when the wave hit. Other projects will continue to find it very difficult to penetrate the market with message but those who do will have had to work much harder and focus on quality. MODx is a good example of a project that is growing and will continue to advance. Silverstripe is not showing the healthy growth I was hoping to see. I think they have a great product and are innovating in good directions but are likely not getting the message out.

- Joomla and Drupal are loud mouths. Everyone needs to quit bitching about the bitching on Twitter and let folks talk. It's not hurting a thing. Trust me. If the numbers are right, those projects are each beating WordPress with blogging. (/me snickers at the reality of how many are blogging about J and D with WP. )

- The negative sentiment and abandonment ratios should be taken very seriously. Think about it - if a project is not able to garner more than 50% of the hearts and minds of their user community - when they give their product away for free - that's not going to bode well over time. My guess is these numbers are more reflective of how people FEEL about the project than any scientific feature fulfillment measurement. Adopting a zero tolerance attitude towards how THE PROJECT treats its community is essential. Keep the asshats in the back, if you need them. Put your friendly people people, in the front. Trust me on this.

- I believe there are opportunities for projects who are dedicated to collaboration. I think we'll start seeing forks in the three major leaders. In each case, WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, there are efforts underway to separate the application from the framework. Users might not see projects like Symfony in the rear view mirror, but anyone in the industry worth their salt does. This will create code forks, make no mistake. This will also upset the commercial apple carts in each community. If the community reacts defensively and adopts an isolationist attitude about who is pure enough to continue under the brand flag, then the code fork will lead to community forks, too, and projects will bleed out. Projects with the self-respect and forsight to embrace all collaboration and innovation will experience linux like growth and be in the OS CMS report in four years from now.

Lastly, I cannot help but be seriously impressed with what has transpired in this past five years. This organic community development has spawned from the fact that geeks want to pursue what interests them -- the freedom to chart their own course -- the sense of belonging that comes from community involvement - the leadership of amazing people who somehow were able to get out of the way of their communities while providing gentle nudges of leadership that help unify the group. It's nothing short of amazing and I am proud to have participated.
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